It’s almost impossible to imagine Sydney without its spectacular scenery. The Bridge, the Opera House, the Harbour and the beaches are all an integral part of the city’s charm. Often it goes without saying that if you’re looking for a great dining option, then that includes not only the food, but the vista as well. Of course, there are the big bucks that you can spend for an astounding view to go with your lunch, but not all dining views need to be so exclusive. Here are five of our favourites, from fine diners to picnics in the park – when the food tastes better because you’ve got a great view.
Guillaume at Bennelong
Okay, so this is definitely one for special occasions, but Guillaume at Bennelong certainly ticks all the boxes for view and location. First, you are dining inside one of the most iconic Sydney structures there is. Situated in the front shell of the Opera House, gaze in awe at the exposed ceilings, while the theatrical feel is enhanced by moody spotlights and exquisite food.
But it’s outside the windows that things get really interesting. The view stretches down the Opera House steps, spills along East Circular Quay, takes in the ferry terminals and then wraps around to The Rocks, before finally culminating in an uninterrupted view of the Harbour Bridge. This is it – the heart and soul of a Sydney view with your food. Chef Guillaume Brahimi is a national treasure in himself, so his trademark French cuisine has no problems living up to the vista. You might come for the expertly executed French fare (try the degustation), but it just also happens to be married to one of the best views in Sydney.
North Bondi Italian Food
Most people associate views with big sister fine diner Icebergs at the other end of Bondi Beach, but for our money NBIF has some fine views, wrapped up in a more casual setting. The dream team of executive chef Robert Marchetti and restaurateur Maurice Terzini are more than up to the challenge of complimenting the views across to the iconic beach.
The deep room, with casual tables and understated décor, draws the eye with a tunnel vision view of the crashing Bondi Beach waves just beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows. By day, beach-bodies parade past and by night the water reflects the inky depths of the sky. With the unavoidable beach vibe, it’s a good thing that the casual Italian fare is geared towards hearty, relaxed and share dishes.
Tucked into that blissfully calm beach of the North Shore, the Bathers’ Pavilion at Balmoral Beach has the gentle waves literally lapping at the door and a view out to Middle Harbour and the Heads. ?“I opened The Bathers’ Pavilion 12 years ago and I have never tired of the view,” says owner and executive chef Serge Dansereau. “Each day and night is different, from the rising morning sun to the full moon nights and the stormy days, there is always a different and impressive outlook from our windows.”
The best thing about Bathers’ is that with the cafe and restaurant occupying two halves of the same building, you can choose exactly what kind of money you want to spend. Breakfast here is one of the best-kept secrets of restaurants with a view. Grab a coffee at the canteen, take a lazy lunch in the café, or make a night of it with the degustation in the restaurant. Either way you’ll be taking in a view that has inspired both art and poetry over the years.
Canteen on Cockatoo Island
It might take a little extra planning and a boat trip (take the ferry from Circular Quay), but the Canteen at Cockatoo Island has a unique perspective on Sydney dining with a view. The food is simple – think sandwiches, cakes, light breakfasts and coffees – but the view back towards the city and Harbour Bridge (from the junction of the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers), the option to camp on the island overnight and a wealth of historical buildings, make this canteen an eatery with a truly unique vista.
Doyles on the Wharf
Finally, who says you need to pay a venue for the view? Why not head to Watsons Bay, grab a bundle of famously crispy-golden fish and chips from Doyles on the Wharf and find a grassy spot in Roberston Park. The vista here stretches back across Watsons Bay and the Harbour to Clifton Gardens, while A-grade fish and chips taste even better in the fresh air with a view. In fact, there’s any number of fish and chip places within reach of beachside views. Try Bottom of the Harbour at Balmoral Beach, Mongers at Manly (where you can pick the beach or harbour end of The Corso for your views), or Cloudy Bay Fish Co. at the Opera House Concourse for city-side views. Because when your city is built around the Harbour, there’s always a way to find dining with a view.
Bottom of the Harbour
21 The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach
(02) 9969 7911